DSWD Acting Secretary Virginia N. Orogo leads the launching of the pilot pay-out of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) grant to indigent senior citizens of the City of San Fernando in Pampanga. The DSWD is the government agency tasked to implement the UCT, which is a cash subsidy under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to help the poor cope with the adverse economic impact of the law.

DSWD Acting Secretary Virginia N. Orogo leads the launching of the pilot pay-out of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) grant to indigent senior citizens of the City of San Fernando in Pampanga. The DSWD is the government agency tasked to implement the UCT, which is a cash subsidy under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to help the poor cope with the adverse economic impact of the law.

“Ang DSWD po ay sinisikap na makapagbigay ng sustainable na tulong sa ating mahihirap na mamayang Pilipino na apektado ng TRAIN law(The Department of Social Welfare and Development [DSWD] is doing its best to provide sustainable aid to poor Filipinos affected by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion [TRAIN] Law).”

This is what DSWD Acting Secretary Virginia N. Orogo assured the public as she led the pilot payout of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) grant to indigent senior citizens in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga over the weekend.

“Ang gusto natin ay sustainable na pagtulong at hindi po parang stop-gap lamang. Iyon po ang patuloy na pinag-aaralan natin katuwang ang ibang ahensya ng gobyerno (What we want is a sustainable help and not just a stop-gap measure. That is what we are currently studying with the help of other government agencies) We want to address poverty in a sustainable way and manner,” Sec. Orogo explained.

During the event, 733 indigent senior citizens, who are beneficiaries of the DSWD’s Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens (SPISC), received their lump sum UCT grant amounting to P2,400.

Cash subsidy

Being implemented by the DSWD, UCT is a cash subsidy provided under the TRAIN law to help poor Filipinos cushion the adverse economic impact of the law. For 2018, the ten million target beneficiaries will receive P200 per month or P2,400 for one year, while in 2019 and 2020, the aid will increase to P300 or P3,600 a year.

According to the welfare chief, the DSWD targets to complete the release of the subsidy before the end of the year or by September. For the social pension beneficiaries, the Department is targeting to finish the release of the assistance by July. A total of three million indigent senior citizens will receive the UCT grant.

Sec. Orogo explained that seniors who will receive the subsidy will come from the list of the SPISC beneficiaries of the DSWD.

Social Pension

SPISC is a program of the Department that provides P500 per month to help augment the daily subsistence of poor seniors who are frail, sickly or with a disability; with no regular income or support from family and relatives; and without a pension from private or government institutions.

“Gusto man po natin na bigyan lahat ng ating senior citizens sa buong Pilipinas, ang atin pong priority ay bigyan muna ang mga indigent nating mga seniors. Sana po maintindihan kami, hindi naman po kaya ng ating gobyerno na bigyan lahat. Ibinibigay po natin ito doon sa talagang nangangailangan (We really want to provide the subsidy to all senior citizens in the country, but our priority as of now is those seniors who are indigent. We ask for the public’s understanding as the government cannot afford to provide the aid to all. We prioritize those who are really in need),” Sec. Orogo explained.

Seniors thankful for the subsidy

Cyrene Azada, 79,  a resident of Barangay Lourdes, San Fernando City, is thankful for the UCT subsidy that she received during the pilot payout activity.

“Maraming maraming salamat sa gobyerno sa tulong na ito at marami kaming mabibili. Ibibili ko ito ng pagkain at gamot (I thank the government for this aid, as we will be able to buy a lot of goods. I will use this to buy food and medicine),” she said.

Food and maintenance medicines are also what Yolanda Nakayanan, 82, from Barangay Calulut, will buy using her UCT cash grant.

“Malaking tulong ito sa aming matatanda. Ipambibili ko ito ng maintenance ko sa gamot at pagkain. Maraming salamat sa inyo; malaking tulong kayo sa amin (This is a big help to us, seniors. I will use this subsidy to buy my maintenance medicines and food. Thank you to all of you. You are a big help to us), she shared.

For Roberto Manaloto, 75, from Bulaon Resettlement, the aid is a big help as it will let him buy medicines not just for himself, but also for his sick child.

“Gagamitin namin yung pera sa anak naming may sakit. Mayroon kasi akong inaalagaan na may sakit na anak kaya malaki rin ang tulong nito(We will use the money for our child who is sick, so this is a great help),” Roberto said.

Sec. Orogo said that while the aid isn’t much, the DSWD hopes it can help augment the needs of its senior citizen beneficiaries.

Hindi man po kalakihang halaga ang UCT subsidy na ito, pero hangad po namin ay makatulong po ito sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan ng ating mga nakatatanda (The UCT grant may not be a huge amount, but we hope that this can help in the everyday needs of our seniors),” Sec. Orogo stated.

Apart from the 3 million social pensioners, the target beneficiaries of the UCT grant include the 4.4 million household-beneficiaries of the DSWD Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and 2.6 million poor families listed under the Department’s Listahanan. ###